Clams with Sherry & Olives paired with Vinho Verde

Clams with Sherry & Olives paired with Vinho Verde


Recipe from A’ Table, recipes for cooking and eating the French way, by Rebekah Peppler.

Serves 4 as an appetizer

  • 3 TBL EVOO, such as Kalamata, Koroneki or Arbequina
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon piment d’Esplette(can substitute Hungarian paprika or Spanish paprika)
  • Fine sea salt
  • 3 lbs clams such as littlenecks
  • 1/2 cup Castelvetrano olives, cut in half
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup Sherry, such as Fino or Manzanilla(both available at Olive and Vyne)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Crusty bread

In a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat, add the oil and garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the spice and .salt, if using Spanish paprika use 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon and stir 10 seconds then add the clams, olives, wine and sherry. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot with a tight fitting lid, lower the heat and simmer until the clams open, 8-10 minutes. Uncover, removing any clams that did not open. Stir in 1/2 the parsley, plate the dish and garnish with the remaining parsley. Serve with crusty bread suitable for dipping and mopping up the broth.

Note: we think this is a must have cookbook and we have a dozen recipes tagged for cooking as soon as possible. The style, simplicity and outright deliciousness of the recipes make this book a “top shelf” selection. 5 stars on our scale.

Vinho Verde

by Tara Bruner & Greg Neruda

If we had one choice of a summer white wine for the beach, poolside, or alfresco dining, it would be a Vinho Verde from Portugal. It may seem an odd choice over the summer giants like Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, or Pinot Gris, but once you have a glass you are hooked. Light and crisp with exotic aromatics, Vinho Verde also delivers a little surprise… effervescence (called petillánt) to refresh the palate. Along with the lower alcohol, this wine is a perfect summer sipper.

Vinho Verde, which means “green wine”, hails from Portugals cool, coastal northwestern area which provides a lush, verdant climate with plenty of rainfall for these intriguing white grapes to fully ripen. The name, Vinho Verde (pronounced veen-yo viard), has two possibles origins. One refers to the area grown that averages over 120” of rain a year (Boise area averages around 13”/year!). The second refers to its young drinkability. Its bottled early and meant to be enjoyed right away.

Most white Vinho Verdes are a blend of Alvarinho (Albariño in Spain), Arinto/Pedernã, Avesso, Azal, Loureiro, and Trajadura. While blends are most common, there are some amazing single varietals from Alvarhino and Loureiro available.

A fun bonus about Vinho Verde is how quaffable it is for it’s price. The current vintage is 2020, so again it’s meant to be drank right away. These delightful wines generally do not command a high price – usually under $20. It’s a wine that you can grab a case of for your backyard party and not break the bank, but have delicious wine to start the night.

Now to our favorite part… what food to pair with them? I like to look at the food of the region and lucky for us its seafood! Think light and bright wine, light and bright food. White fish, shrimp, clams, muscles, oh my! It’s a seafood lalapalooza, another reason it’s perfect for summertime eats. It can also be a stand-in for Prosecco if you don’t have any on hand. Start off the evening with a little white Vinho Verde and an appetizer of Steamer Clams with Green Olives. This new twist will be sure to delight your guests and kick off the evening in style.

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